On June 28, 2006, the Loyalist Burial Ground St. Stephen was designated a Local Historic Place for being a final resting place for numerous Loyalists and one of the area’s oldest cemeteries.
Situated on the east side of King Street in St. Stephen, Captain Nehemiah Marks donated Lot #13 to the Rector, Wardens, and Vestry of the Church of England Parish for use as a burial ground. In 2008, following the cemetery’s restoration, a memorial dedicated to early settlers was unveiled.
During Queen Anne’s War, New Englander Major Benjamin Church led a series of raids in response to the French Raid on Deerfield, including an attack on the Acadian village of Castine, Maine (then known as Penobscot). Church learned from the Raid on Castine that Michel Chartier, the grantee of present-day St. Stephen’s land, was constructing a fort at Passamaquoddy Bay. Church and his men reached Passamaquoddy Bay aboard several vessels, including the Province Galley, Gosport, and Fearly.
On June 7, 1704, Church surprised Chartier in St. Stephen, causing Chartier and his family to flee into the woods. On June 13, Church reported that his troops were destroying Acadian crops while Acadians and Natives fought back. After a three-hour exchange, Church’s forces killed or captured 35 Acadians and Natives, with one of his men injured. The community was subsequently looted and pillaged.
Following the Raid on St. Stephen, Church continued to raid other Acadian villages, including those in Grand Pré, Piziquid, and Chignecto.
As the American Revolution ended, Loyalists were forced to flee. On May 23, 1784, a group of around 200 destitute individuals, including men, women, and children led by Capt. Nehemiah Marks, arrived on the Canadian banks of the St. Croix River.
In 1784, a grant under the Great Seal of Nova Scotia provided Loyalists with Garden Lots in the Jones Division. Lot #13 on the east side of King’s Mast Road, now King Street, was granted to James Waller, an Armed Boatman under Capt. Nehemiah Marks’ command. Each lot measured 6 rods wide and 23 rods deep (30.5m by 115.5m). Capt. Nehemiah Marks purchased the lot for 5 pounds and transferred it to the Rector, Wardens, and Vestry of the Church of England Parish to serve as a burial ground.
The Loyalist Burial Ground continued to be used until 1859 when the St. Stephen Rural Cemetery opened and many of the remains in the Loyalist Cemetery were relocated there.
The Loyalist Burial Ground served St. Stephen until 1863, and marks the final resting place for these early pioneers. However it subsequently fell into disrepair. In 2004, Town Council undertook to transfer legal possession of the Burial Ground from the Anglican Church to the Town.
In 2005, the Loyalist Burial Ground Restoration Committee began work to raise community support and raise funds to restore the site and provide long overdue respect for these founding mothers and fathers. The restoration work culminated with unveiling of a memorial stone on August 3, 2008.
Inscription on Plaque:
Loyalist Burial Ground, 1784-1859
At the end of the American Revolution, Loyalists were forced to flee for their lives. On May 23, 1784, a destitute group of about 200 including men, women and children led by Capt. Nehemiah Marks, steered up the St. Croix River to the head of tide and landed on the Canadian banks of the St. Croix River.
For their loyalty, King George III granted them land, which over time they made prosperous. A large community grew around sh
Shipbuilding and lumbering industries. It became the Town of St. Stephen in 1871.
This monument recognizes the founders of our community, their spouses and their progeny who also are buried here. These men and women struggled and succeeded. They created the foundation for all we enjoy today. We pray this hallowed ground serves as a contemporary reminder of their tenacity and hard work.
Loyalist Burial Ground Restoration Committee, 2008
Resource: United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada
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